Monday, December 23, 2013

CBM and Carey Theological College: Doctoral Cohort

The CBM and Carey Theological College’s 
Doctor of Ministry Cohort, Africa

This December marked the end of the three-year doctoral course that Aaron has been studying in with leaders from each of our African partner churches. Now as a doctoral candidate, he is completing his final thesis project that will be defended in December 2015.

Beyond the academics, it has been a great way to become better connected with our partners. I am so grateful for this opportunity to study with and become close friends with each of these incredible men.

Please pray for our friend Francis Nyok and Saphano Chol who are leaders of the Faith Evangelical Baptist Churches (FEBAC) of South Sudan. The current rebellion threatens the entire stability of their country. We pray that the prince of peace might reign in the lives of the South Sudanese leadership, and that the current uprising will not take anymore innocent lives.

Dr. Barbara Mutch and Dr. Brian Stelch facilitating as workshop
earlier this month in Mitaboni, Kenya



This Fall, Ava began the first grade in Rosslyn Academy’s elementary school. She is having a great year, especially having fun with her pals Phoebe, Braydon, Faith, Indera, Stella, Cyler and Marna. She is loving her homeroom teacher Miss Lane, who is also Ava’s dance instructor. Ava has had lots of adventures this past year as we went together as a family to Paris and Beirut with a stopover in Egypt. We also had the joy of lots of visiting family: Uncle Adam and auntie Ivy came with their children Liam, Livia and Laurel in August (Ava had a blast with her cousins); Grampy and Grammie Kenny visited in September (lots of sun and fun on the beach); and Nana Clark just arrived for Christmas!

Ava getting close to one of the Colobus at the Mt. Kenya Safari club 

Mommy and Ava in the huge hedge maze 

Cut off from commercials and Christmas catalogues (do they still exist?), our kids do not come up with wish lists for Santa Clause, as Erica and I did growing up in Canada. Christmas is much more about playing games, cooking meals together and visiting friends. I just asked Ava what some of her favourite things are and I was not surprised when she answered “swimming, show & tell, fun Fridays, chapel, show & tell, assemblies, going on vacation, and Canada!” 

We are so thankful for our little bundle of joy! 

Ava making friends with some traditional Kikuyu dancers

Ava and the old man

This giant torteous literally walked Ava around for half an hour. He also nuzzled with Tristan and growled at me. Who knew a tortuous could have so much personality.  

Pigmy Hippo shows Ava his teeth

Ava with Mommy and Daddy in Egypt this past June
on the Giza plateau.



Our little Emma turned twelve in 2013. She is doing very well in grade seven at Rosslyn Academy’s Middle School where she is busy with student council, the Imago Dei choir, and rehearsals for the middle school drama. It was a year of lots of sleepovers with Diana and experiments in the kitchen: Emma is a great little baker (we just need to work on clean up). While Emma and her best friend Diana are almost inseparable, we are so thankful for all the great friends that she has made. Many of the girls have been apart of Emma’s class for several years. There are lots of highlights from this past year, including a fantastic Middle School banquet that Emma and the student council planned, her masquerade murder mystery birthday party, and our family getaways.   

Emma making friends with a friendly monkey

Emma and Mommy at Mt. Kenya

Wayne Morgan nabbing out Emma’s “great” gift at the 
CBM Kenya team’s Christmas party. 
Gotta love a good yankee swap Emma!

We are so thankful for a Emma. She is such a fun and caring sister to Tristan and Ava. This Christmas she has been busy with mommy in the cookie factory that is our kitchen. Last night we tried homemade eggnog with an array of cookies, scones, and tea cakes. Emma you rock!

Emma at her Fall Choral Concert at Rosslyn Academy


 T R I S T A N

Tristan is now half way through his freshman year of High School. It has been a busy fall with classes, Rosslyn Singers, the school play (An Appointment with Death), and now prep for the Spring Musical (The Wiz). As the kids begin Christmas break today, we are so glad to have a few uninterrupted weeks of family time.

A friendly Colobus monkey checking Tristan out

Growing up in Kenya has its perks, one of them being the incredible opportunities to encounter creation. Even in Nairobi: We were driving across town on Friday and while stopped at an intersection a troop of monkeys paraded by. Surprises like this never fail to amaze us.

Over the American Thanksgiving long weekend, we were able to take the kids to Mt. Kenya where we spent a few days enjoying the cool mountain side. Tristan led us through a great hedge maze and organized board games during the rainy afternoons. He is a great big brother to his sisters.

Looking back on 2013, we are so thankful for the great experiences we’ve been able to share in as a family. Time flies by far too quickly, and quiet moments with our kids are treasures that we want to protect. We are so thankful for TK and the gift of being his parents.

Tristan with a young antelope, Mt. Kenya

Tristan and Robbie Brown on their way to 
the Rosslyn High School Banquet

Sunday, December 15, 2013

CBM Kenya Team Christmas!

from the Canadian Baptist Ministries’ Kenya Team 
2013 Christmas Party at the Lord Errol, Nairobi

Wayne & Maureen Morgan leading Worship 

Earlier this month, we celebrated Christmas with our CBM team here in Kenya. It was a great time of worship and fellowship as we gave thanks for a great year of ministry. Along with our colleagues and their families, we were delighted to have our director, Terry Smith, and Gordon Brew (CBM’s new communications manager) join us from Mississauga, Ontario.

Randy and Elizabeth Legassie sharing scripture

Gordon Brew participating in the worship time

Emma sharing scripture during the worship and carol sing

Andai Jackson leading us in prayer

Terry, the pirate Santa, passing out gifts to the children

Fun on the veranda

Emma, Erica and John

Yattani and Gordon

Tristan at the keys

Pauline and her mysterious Tom!

John, Pauline, Tom, Erica, Aaron, William, Mary, Andai, Salomi, Yattani, Elizabeth, Randy, Ruth (Leonard missing), Maureen, Wayne, Laura and Kennedy

Wishing you and your family a wonderful joy-filled Christmas!

Faith Evangelical Baptist Churches, South Sudan

Juba, South Sudan

Having gained independence on July 9, 2011, South Sudan is the world’s youngest country. After decades of unrest, the people of South Sudan have a great challenge before them as they build a nation.

This past week, Aaron and our colleague Terry Smith, Canadian Baptist Ministries’ (CBM) Deputy Executive Director and Director of International Partnerships, met with our partner denomination in South Sudan, the Faith Evangelical Baptist Churches (FEBAC). 

Along with partnership discussions, Aaron and Terry facilitated leadership training for the FEBAC executive and emerging leaders from within the denomination. It was a timely gathering as all of Africa commemorated the life of one of her greatest leaders, Nelson Mandela. 

Rev. Saphano, General Secretary, and Rev. Jonathan, Moderator of FEBAC

Great laughter and rich discussion during training sessions 
on integral mission and business as mission

An historic day: 
Terry and Jonathan signing the partnership memorandum 
between CBM and FEBAC

Terry with the executive leadership of FEBAC

Aaron and Terry on the Nile River

To learn more about the ministry of FEBAC
please visit their website by

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Baptist Churches of Central Africa (CBCA)

At the end of November, Erica and I travelled to North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo to meet with the leadership of the Baptist Churches of Central Africa (CBCA). Driving overland from Kigali, Rwanda, we approached the peaceful waters of Lake Kivu to meet our friend, Dr. Kakule Molo, who would walk us across the Rwandan/Congolese border. Shortly after crossing the crowded immigration check point, a dark storm began to swell over the lake. By the time we made it to our guesthouse, the rain was sweeping through the streets and whipping up the once calm waters of Kivu. We couldn’t help but think of the thousands of fisherman caught at the mercy of the storm in their open dugout boats. As the darkness of evening fell, we retreated into our room, safe from the thrashing rain, but the imagine on my mind was of a similar scene from the Gospels when the disciples faced a deadly storm with Jesus asleep in the boat.

The story can be read in three of the Gospel narratives (Mark 4; Matthew 8 and Luke 8).  After teaching at the Lake shore all day, Jesus calls his disciples to cross over to the other side of the Lake in order to getaway from the crowds. Jesus soon falls asleep on a cushion in the boat, but while he sleeps a terrible storm suddenly forms. Soon the boat is swamped by waves crashing over the sides. The disciples, mostly seasoned fisherman, are terrified by the fierce squal. Finally, the disciples wake Jesus crying out, “Don’t you care we are perishing!” To the amazement of the disciples, Jesus stands, rebukes the winds and the seas, and the storm ends -- all is calm. He turns to the disciples and asks, “Why are you so afraid? Where is your faith?"

Photo: Just spent the most heartbreaking, humbling, beautiful day visiting some projects of CBM's partner, the CBCA

Street view from Goma

Sudden storms are a part of life in Kivu, but our friends in the CBCA have endured far more than storms upon the water. Volcanic eruptions that have buried their city; geothermic fire has scorched churches; and decades of insecurity, military assault, and, most recently, the attacks of the M23 rebel group have taken lives and destroyed homes. Such storms often come with little warning, and bring great hardship and suffering. 

It was heart breaking to meet so many young people affected by the ravages of war and hostility. Although the Rwanda based M23 militants have been dispersed, villagers caught in the crossfire continue to arrive at the CBCA hospitals, victims of gun shot wounds and the devastation of the conflict. I can relate to the cries of the disciples, that night in the storm, when they asked of Jesus “Don’t you care we are perishing!” Even the disciples experienced doubt and fear in the face of the storm.

Erica and Dr. Molo near the shores of Lake Kivu

During our time in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we witnessed the faith and hope of the people of the CBCA churches working to strengthen their community through school counselling programs, hospital ministries and support groups for victims of sexual assault. We were moved by the selfless acts of compassion demonstrated in the ministries of these local churches. “Sometimes the violence seems to be too much!” shared one leader. “You see its impacts on the lives of the students in our school. Their families, their friends,.. everyone is effected. The listening room project has provided a safe place for students to come and share their problems. We pray together. We listen. By God’s power their lives are getting better.”

Jesus’ response to the disciples in the boat has perplexed me for a long time. I felt like it was an unkind rebuke -- “Where is your faith?” I could understand the fear and the frustration of the disciples: So often in life, I too cry out to a God who seems silent or asleep. Walking with Erica through Goma, I wondered how our these families could survive such waves of set back and pain. They live in that boat with the storm crashing in. 

But that isn’t the end of the story,  Jesus’ first response is a demonstration of compassionate power. The storm is calmed and he does not leave his friends who questioned him. Jesus remain in the boat with the disciples, and they reach their destination together. With Jesus they pass through the storm and they are transformed by it. The fear of the disciples shifts from the paralyzing fear of the storm to the empowering fear and appreciation of Jesus’ power. In essence, the crisis of the storm moves them from fear to faith.

In all that we are doing as Canadian Baptists to strengthen and equip or Christian brethren in the CBCA, it is we as Canadians who receive the real benefit. We are learning about faith, forgiveness and the transforming power of God through the lives of our Congolese friends. This is what we call "Global Discipleship”. The Church in Canada and around the world mutually serving and learning together.

Checking out a local Congolese bicycle in Goma